In an effort to raise awareness of the major economic and humanitarian crises facing Greece and the European Union, Georgia Lale, a Greek artist and MFA student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, has developed a social art project centered on an orange life vest.
Lale feels a personal connection to the situation as both of her grandparents came to Greece as refugees. The young artist started the project in October at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She walked from the museum’s Syrian art section to the Greek art section while wearing a bright orange life vest. The walk symbolized the refugees’ route and called attention to the fact that each culture faces a different crisis that is simultaneously interconnected.
She continued the project, marching in Times Square and then across New York’s High Line. The 1.5-mile trek reflected the lines that refugees form during their trip, often following train tracks. This march was the first time that others joined Lale. As more people began wearing the vests, interest from bystanders grew. 15 individuals from Saudi Ariabia, India, South Korea, China, and the U.S. have since joined Lale in her artistic endeavors. Those who are affiliated with the project promote the #orangevest hashtag to spread awareness on social media channels.
Georgia believes this is just the beginning. She hopes to expand the project, increasing public participation and ultimately influencing individuals and groups with political and financial power to take a stand on the issue.